Breaking News Out of Anaheim:
Today the Anaheim Ducks announced they had signed a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Iowa franchise, formerly known as the Iowa Stars.
“We are thrilled to be affiliating with the Schlegel family in a great hockey market such as Des Moines,” said Ducks Executive Vice President/General Manager Brian Burke.
“The Ducks are very excited to have an opportunity to work with an ownership and management team that’s as committed to winning as we are. We would like to thank the Portland Pirates and their fans for their tremendous support over the last three years.”
The Ducks had previously spent three years with Portland, Maine's Portland Pirates as the organization's AHL affiliate.
As an Anaheim affiliate, Portland posted an overall record of 135-76-13-16 for 299 points in 480 games (a .623 winning percentage). The Pirates also made deep runs in the Calder Cup playoffs, advancing to Game Seven of the AHL Eastern Conference Finals in two of the last three years.
The Ducks' press release said that "[s]ince the start of the 2006 postseason, the Ducks and their AHL affiliate have combined to win 10 playoff rounds, more than any other NHL organization in hockey (NHL/AHL)."
“It doesn’t make sense to have a farm team three time zones away,” Burke said. “Everything except geography was great about Portland. We’re excited about the shift farther West. It gives us much better options, as far as recalling players.”
Iowa entered the AHL in October 2005 as the Dallas Stars' AHL affiliate, and in its first and second seasons, qualified for the Calder Cup playoffs. As Iowa’s lone professional hockey team, they have attracted over 550,000 fans to Wells Fargo Arena since joining the AHL.
“Our goal has always been to grow AHL hockey in the Des Moines community and we look forward to an amazing season,” says Kirby Schlegel, chairman and CEO of Schlegel Sports. “With this change in affiliation there will be some exciting changes for Iowa hockey fans as well. We are also lowering ticket prices to attract more fans supporting AHL hockey in Des Moines. All of these changes mean a win-win situation for everyone involved.”
Iowa is scheduled to announce its team name, logo, and colors next month.
For more information on the Ducks new affiliation agreement and all the Ducks' off-season news, be sure to visit The Puck Drop: Your Source for Everything Anaheim Ducks.
Image and Sources: Ducks, Anaheim. "Ducks Announce Iowa Affiliation." Ducks website 03 Jun 2008 3 Jun 2008.
The other source involved was the official Ducks Press release emailed to this writer.